Category Archives:
Middle East

Antisemitism and its useful idiots

Amitai Ben-Abba on

All over the world people who challenge Zionism are being accused of antisemitism. You might imagine the one group of dissidents who are safe from this kind of delegitimization is the Israeli Jews—they are not. This cruel irony, when exposed, may actually play a productive role in decoupling antisemitism and anti-Zionism. As actual antisemites take positions of power in the US government while maintaining a pro-Israel stance, the need to oppose the false accusations of antisemitism becomes ever more vital.

Almost 1 million Syrian children can’t go to school

Leila Rafei and Nisrine Makkouk on

In Lebanon, one of the countries that has been most burdened by the Syrian refugee crisis, public schools are strained to the limits. Schooldays operate on a two-shift schedule—the first half of the day is for Lebanese children (and some Syrians if space permits), and the second half is for Syrian children. Still, half of all Syrian refugee children in Lebanon don’t go to school at all.

How I got over the Milk-and-Honey-and-Chosen-People place

Menucha Sara, bat Eliyahu on

“Now who I do talk Hebrew to? Palestinians.” An American activist who grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community describes her long road from Zionism and a belief in Israel’s goodness to a dedication to human rights and anti-Zionism.

Remembering Revolutionary Yiddishland

Max Ajl on

Max Ajl reviews ‘Revolutionary Yiddishland’, by Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg, a history of European Jewish radicalism. Their oral history – a history from below – seeks to capture the lives of struggle of Jewish dissidents, communists, Bundists, working-class militants, martyrs of the Spanish Civil War. Ajl writes, “As we lurch into another moment when more and more may feel the jackboot of the state, one can hope also the message of this book can inspire many to again look to that horizon to which the people of lost Yiddishland looked, too, and find something there worth struggling for.”

Getting away with murder: the Elor Azarya ‘manslaughter’ case

Jonathan Ofir on

Two Palestinian boys, 13, are charged by Israel with attempted murder for having knives and thinking about using them. But Israeli Sgt Elor Azarya is convicted of manslaughter for an execution, and for many in Israel is a national hero.

John Kerry picked the wrong timeline for the Jewish state

Jonathan Ofir on

After 100 years, the Jewish State has come full circle to comprise all of historical Palestine. As John Kerry notes, the choice in such a case is only between Apartheid or democracy, but he thinks there is a tomorrow. His timeline is wrong.

Hamas celebrates 29th anniversary amid local and international challenges

Isra Saleh El-Namy on

Tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the street in Gaza this December to mark the 29th anniversary of the establishment of Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement that governs the besieged strip. A military parade of Hamas’s armed wing thrilled demonstrators as Hamas leaders delivered speeches affirming the group’s ongoing commitment to military resistance against the Israeli occupation. This year, however, the anniversary came amid mounting challenges facing Hamas on the domestic and international front.

Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won

Tom Suarez on

Terror was vital to the establishment of Israel. David Ben-Gurion and Chaim Weizmann planned for large numbers of Arabs to be expelled to assure a Jewish majority. When non-Zionist British Jew Robert Waley Cohen suggested that the new state should be named with a neutral geographic term, ‘Palestine’, Ben-Gurion and Weizmann were horrified at the idea.

Kerry, interrupted

Jonathan Ofir on

Question for John Kerry — You say the US has provided Israel the ‘protection of legitimacy’. Why does it need so much protection? Is it because the world hates it? Or is it because it actually enacts illegitimate policy?

A bi-national, democratic state is the only option Israel and Kerry has left us with

Jeff Halper on

Jeff Halper writes: Suffice it to say that a just peace will not come from Israel or governments, or from the collaborationist Palestinian Authority. A just resolution will only come when Palestinians and their Israeli allies come together pro-actively, in good faith and with a determination to resolve the situation justly. And it will take the form of a one-state solution – a bi-national, democratic state – because that is the only option Israel and Kerry have left us with.

Hear O Israel these parting truths — John Kerry

Robert Herbst on

One-state Greater Israel is not consonant with democratic ideals, and Americans and the world will never accept it, John Kerry said. The unspoken challenge to Jews the world over was, will the Jewish people accept it?

Abstention at the UN, or the Owl of Minerva of American Diplomacy

Michael Marder on

Obama’s endgame is the same when it comes to fossil fuels and Israel/Palestine: as part of his legacy project, he is signing decrees to protect the oceans from oil drilling and finally standing up to Israel’s aggressive and unchecked settlement expansion. Should we judge the last eight years by these eleventh-hour attempts, the looming inauguration would appear to be a radical break with a “progressive” agenda on environmental and diplomatic fronts. But the true break is between what has been going on throughout Obama’s consecutive terms and the very final stretch of his tenure in the White House.

‘P is for Palestine’: Illustrated children’s book showcases beauty and strength of Palestinian culture

Dr. Golbarg Bashi on

Inspired by Palestinian people’s own rich history in the literary and visual arts, a children’s author and a socially conscious illustrator have teamed up to create “P is for Palestine” a picture book that tells the story of Palestine as simply as ABC…in an educational, colorful, empowering way that showcases the beauty and strength of Palestinian culture.

Forced existence

Ruchama Marton on

The Israeli collective psyche is shaped by coercive pressures: It is post-traumatic; it cannot forgive the Jews their victimization in Europe; and so it is intoxicated by power and the use of violence against the weak; and is in a state of denial about its own aggression toward Palestinians. Staying alive by whatever means, the ethos of Netanyahu, has replaced traditional Jewish ethics of loving the neighbor, says psychiatrist Ruchama Marton, founder of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel.

Challenging an ideology means rupturing with community and family

Nadia Naser-Najjab on

Jewish peace activists who contributed to the volume, Beyond Tribal Loyalties, did not merely adopt a particular political point of view; rather, they rejected a whole way of life and consciousness. were labelled as ‘self-hating Jews’, ‘Nazis’, ‘Israel-haters’ and even ‘anti-Semites’.

Starving Yemeni children, bloated US weaponsmakers

Medea Benjamin on

Millions of Yemeni children are starving in large part because of the 20-month Saudi bombings, and US weapons makers General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin are making a killing on sales. It is time to end arms sales to a repressive regime.

Theresa May adopts a definition of anti-Semitism that demonizes Israel’s critics

Jonathan Ofir on

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK is formally adopting a definition of anti-Semitism agreed to earlier this year by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Many of the definitions would bar criticisms of Israel that even Jewish Israeli critics have made, like likening Israeli conduct to that of Nazis.

‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ — Really?

Jonathan Ofir on

The Torah command, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is thought to be a Jewish gift to civilization. In fact, there are so many requirements for who your neighbor is as to render the teaching meaningless in a tribal society.

Palestinians in Lebanon remember Palestine

Celia Peterson on

Palestinians have lived in the refugee camps around Lebanon since the Nakba in 1948 when they were forcibly ejected from their homeland by Israel. Most of these Palestinians have never set foot in Palestine and are prevented from doing so by Israel. Only the oldest have any memory of their homeland. Celia Peterson interviewed Palestinians of various ages in Bourj El Barajneh camp in Beirut to see how they keep the memory of their homeland alive.

Aleppo chef recreates his restaurant in Gaza after fleeing Syria

Ahmad Kabariti on

“If death is my fate, I will die even in Copenhagen. Gaza is relatively safe and a more simple place to live,” says Aleppo chef Anas Qatarji, who fled war-torn Syria for the besieged Gaza Strip and moved his destroyed restaurant with him.